Annika Richterich is an assistant professor in Digital Culture at Maastricht University (NL). Her research focuses on practices of collaboration, learning and innovation in hacking communities.
Annika explains that hackers and makers are curious people. They tinker, try, and team up − driven by tech-political motives, entrepreneurial interests, or just for the fun of it. Their curiosity about digital technology and crafts makes them self-driven learners in these domains. To share their enthusiasm as well as required machines, hackers and makers worldwide have formed communities called hack-/hackerspaces and makerspaces. These are physical places where members engage in creative DIY activities involving software and electronics. Learning is key to the social tech and craft practices cultivated in hacker-/makerspaces (HMS). Yet, the educational value of these DIY communities has been rarely acknowledged. Drawing on a mixed-methods study, her paper explores how (digital) creativity and expertise are interrelated in HMS.